The Bills running back contingent was thin this past Sunday due to injuries suffered by LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory the previous week. The depth chart appeared to get thinner when Marcus Murphy left Sunday’s game with an arm injury and did not return, leaving rookie Keith Ford as the only available tailback.
“We’ve got a general update in that most guys are being evaluated. We’ll know more on Tuesday, but Marcus Murphy has a dislocated elbow,” said head coach Sean McDermott.
Not all injuries are the same, but former Bills CB Phillip Gaines suffered a dislocated elbow earlier this season and missed two games before returning to the lineup.
When asked whether Murphy could play through it, McDermott wasn’t sure at this point in the week.
“We’re still determining that right now,” he said.
Meanwhile the bodies of Ivory and McCoy obviously benefited by not playing on Sunday against the Lions. Both players participated in practice at the end of last week, so the anticipation is they will be able to practice on Wednesday.
Josh Allen’s completion percentage not the focus While accuracy is important for NFL quarterbacks, coach McDermott and the offensive staff are not sweating the details of Josh Allen’s game too much. They’re trying to recognize the fact that he’s learning on the fly and there will be ups and downs as he rounds out his rookie season.
In Sunday’s game for example, Allen’s completion percentage was a pedestrian 50 percent, but many outside observers felt it was one of his best decision-making games of the season.
In reviewing game tape each week, coach McDermott is trying not to cut things too fine in his review of Allen’s play.
“I try to strip it down and just look at where he went with the football. Was he going through his progression? How he stayed in the pocket. Did he stay or leave? Then at the end of the game, the throws that he’s making whether it’s a two-minute drive or red zone situation when the game is on the line… and Josh has done that already in his young career, where he’s made big time throws in big time moments of the game.”
Allen and the offense were charged with trying to kill the final three minutes of clock up by a point against the Lions, and the rookie’s handling of that series is what earns him kudos from his head coach.
“In four-minute mode on offense there was a situation there where they packed the box with 11 guys and we made a throw to Jason (Croom) and Jason went up and got it and Josh made a good throw in a tight window,” said McDermott. “That was a big time play in the game.”
Allen also converted a 4th-and-1 on a sneak to maintain possession and successfully kill the clock without giving the ball back to Detroit.
Ford and Thompson fare well in debuts Buffalo’s roster has been backfilled by undrafted rookies the last few weeks, with several called up from the practice squad. RB Keith Ford and LB Corey Thompson were the latest examples, as both logged significant snaps in Sunday’s win over the Lions.
Thompson got 20 snaps on defense in his first regular season action and held his own.
“Those guys play with a lot of energy,” said McDermott. “Thompson, I thought there were some plays where he looked like a rookie and then there were others where he appeared comfortable out there. He made a good tackle when the ball was checked down to the tight end. He’s only going to get better in time.”
As for Ford, the rookie tailback wound up getting even more time on the field than anticipated once Marcus Murphy left the game with a dislocated elbow.
He wound up getting 60 percent of the playing time and 15 touches on offense.
“Ford I was impressed with the way he came in and handled himself, and the way he ran behind the line,” McDermott said. “I thought the line did a good job, especially in the third quarter. Keith was pounding the ball and had some positive plays for us and had a good catch out of the backfield and picked up about seven or eight yards.”